After narrowly escaping the wild card round of the playoffs with a victory, the Buffalo Bills have survived and advanced to the divisional round to play the Baltimore Ravens. Although the Bills did not play to the best of their capabilities, they still came out of last week with the win and that’s all that counts.
Heading into this AFC Divisional Round matchup against the Ravens, the Bills need to shift their focus on how to slow down this Lamar Jackson led offense. Last year, the Bills defense was one of the few teams to slow down Jackson, but unfortunately, the Bills lost to the Ravens last year 17-24. However, this year is quite different from last year’s Bills; now the Bills have a top tier offense to match their defense. With the way the defense has improved in the latter half of the season, ideally, 24 points are all the Bills will need to win this game.
The Bills have a relatively clean injury report heading into the AFC Divisional Round. With eight players on the injury report, only one player is going into the game with an injury designation. That player is special teams stud and rotational edge rusher Darryl Johnson who is questionable with a knee injury.
As for the Ravens, they have a similarly clean injury report with only two players carrying questionable designations. These two players are cornerback Marcus Peters and offensive linemen D.J. Fluker. Without either registering a full practice this week, both impact contributors will most likely be game-time decisions.
Without anything concrete in terms of players to miss this divisional round game, the one thing that may truly impact this game is the weather. It has been debated all week just how much potential snow could change this game. The main thing the Bills should be concerned about is the level of wind during game-time.
Precipitation isn’t great for catching the football, but snow and wind combined is especially detrimental to a passing attack. Without Zack Moss, the Bills should have a difficult time winning this game the old-fashioned way, with an efficient ground game and winning the battle in the trenches. Should wind be a factor, it will certainly impact Josh Allen and the overall effectiveness of the Bills offense.
However, if the Bills can follow my keys to victory against the Ravens this week, they will improve their chances of surviving and advancing to the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1994.
My final score prediction for this divisional-round matchup is for the Bills to win 31-27. I think national media is over-emphasizing the weather report, and furthermore the impact it will have on both of these great offenses.
Prediction: Buffalo Bills win 31-27